Natalya has recalled their being a “lot of tension” between the Hart family and WWE when she was first trying to get signed by the company in the mid-2000’s.
While the Hart family are seen as something of a wrestling institution, their relationship with WWE has been far from plain sailing. This is despite the family having strong links to the company for a number of years. Both Bret and Owen Hart rose to fame with WWE, while Jim Neidhart, Natalya and extended family, The British Bulldog and Davey Boy Smith Jr have also wrestled for the company.
The famous Hart Family Dungeon, and Stampede Wrestling have also helped numerous other Canadian stars find their way to WWE through the decades.
However, following the Montreal Screwjob the relationship between the family and WWE became severely fractured. Something only exacerbated by the death of Owen inside a WWE ring in 1999. While Bret has since reconciled with WWE, Owen’s widow Martha remains at odds with the company, recently joining with AEW to create the Owen Hart Cup.
Speaking in a recent interview with WWE Deutschland, Natalya, daughter of Jim Neidhart, and Bret Hart’s niece, opened up about how these tensions affected her attempts to get signed by WWE. She revealed that it took her a number of years to get signed, with the relationship between her family and WWE being “complicated.”
“When I was trying to get hired by WWE, it took me over five years to get hired. I was sending in tapes, I was sending in my promo pictures, I was doing whatever I could to make headway. I wish so much that I had somebody who could just make a phone call, that would have been so much easier than what I had to do. But I didn’t have anybody to make a phone call.
My family, when I was trying to get hired by WWE, my family was estranged from WWE, meaning when you go back to the Montreal Screwjob, even though that happened in 1997, there was a lot of tension between WWE and the Hart family. I understand why, it was a really difficult and complicated situation, so I think it was challenging for the Hart family members, especially the younger ones, to get hired because there was all this conflict.”
Despite the initial struggle, Natalya said having to work so hard just to get to WWE makes her appreciate her time with the company that much more.
“But of course, that all passed and we managed to work through all that, but for me, I didn’t have my dad to make a phone call, I didn’t have my uncles to make a phone call, I didn’t really have anyone. I had to basically fight tooth and nail to turn every single no into a yes. Now that I’m in WWE, I appreciate that so much more, I appreciate that no one helped me. It was really, really hard, but it made me value what I have. Being the longest-tenured woman in WWE, somebody told me the other day that I am in the Guinness Book Of Worlds Records for having the most matches of any female.”
WWE’s current longest-tenured female Superstar explained that she hopes that her story can serve as an inspiration to others. It doesn’t matter how many times you’re rejected, you can still achieve your dreams.
“To be honest, I don’t even pay attention to all the matches I’ve had because I have been having so much fun. But if somebody was to tell me that before I got hired by WWE I would never have believed them, because there were times when I didn’t even think I’d get hired by WWE. It was so challenging for me to get hired.
So, I want anyone that has a dream, I want people to know that if you’ve been rejected if you’ve been told no and the door has been slammed in your face, you can do it. I promise you can do it, you just have to be relentless, and you have to do whatever it takes and hit every single corner and just fight, fight for your dreams.”
Natalya eventually signed with WWE back in 2007 and has gone on to win two Women’s Championship’s as well as tag team gold alongside Tamina.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.